After looking through one or two local bridal magazines and seeing way too many floofy poofy wedding gowns which would swallow me whole, I decided to have a look round online and soon found some tempting options. For example, “beaded embroidery trims the sweetheart strapless neckline and cascades onto the asymmetrically raped bodice of this slim fitting gown”. How lovely. I am sure all my guests will be raped with admiration.
Walking out from Tanglin Camp after Yi-Sheng’s book launch along a rather dark creepy path, Alec and I were the last two in the procession with Fay just in front. We had fallen silent, perhaps a little cowed by the atmosphere. Unnerved by menacing jungly shadows, I amused myself by walking like one of the Bushwhackers.
“Um…dear…you’re being weird…” Alec whispered, as he walked beside me.
I thought this was a bit rich coming from someone I have had to physically restrain from public vogue-ing whenever the song in question is played, so I protested “No one can see me, what’s the problem?” and continued merrily.
After a good thirty metres or so of my happy bushwhacking, Fay turned around as if meaning to say something to us, but suddenly her eyes widened in fear at something behind me.
“WHO IS THAT???!!” she exclaimed, lunging towards me to try and see who, or what, was behind me. “ARE YOU SOMEONE??”
My heart performing the sort of spasmodic leaps one’s heart performs in such circumstances, I whirled around too.
Who or what emerged from the shadows? A short, slightly plump, totally ordinary looking lady who was somewhat shocked by the outburst and walked quickly past us, laughing nervously, to the distant sanity of the shuttle bus.
According to Alec she had been behind me the whole time, so the poor lady first had to deal with walking alone behind a group of silent strangers on the dark creepy path, one of those strangers beginning to walk in an exceedingly bizarre fashion (look, use your imagination – the Bushwhackers were funny on TV, but if you saw a shadow walking towards you like that in the darkness? Meep!), and another one of those strangers loudly demanding to know whether she was “someone”. Maybe you just had to be there, but I’d have been a little shaken if I were her. Sorry, lady.
Apart from that, what I also wanted to record here was a lovely evening spent steeped in pride for Yish, the filthy synergistic hilarity that characterizes our particular group of friends, and the immense honour of being able to purchase a book with my name among the dedications in the front, spelled the way only Yish spells it.
Yesterday I went to the opening of a photography exhibition, because I am arty and sophisticated.
Then I accidentally dropped most of my goat’s cheese canape into my glass of red wine, because I am a klutz and a half.
And lastly, I marked this unfortunate occurrence by breaking out uncontrollably into a resounding “FUCK!”, because you really can’t take me anywhere.
I envy people with great stories about meeting people they admire. Benny has his about meeting DJ Shadow in a London newsagent. Jordan at said the gramophone has this lovely two–part tale about his odyssey to see Cat Power at a festival somewhere in Switzerland (he didn’t actually know where in Switzerland, though, which is what makes the story even cooler).
I, on the other hand, am unable to interact with people I admire without appearing like a complete idiot. I chickened out of saying hello to Zadie Smith the time I saw her on Torrington Place on my way home from the supermarket. I stammered something excruciatingly inane to Malcolm McLaren when he came to speak at a UCL Debating Society event the time he was considering running for London Mayor. In front of Neil Gaiman my mind went blank, and it didn’t help that he was drawing me a rat because then all I could think was NEIL GAIMAN IS DRAWING ME A RAT OH MY GOD.
Even my brushes with almost unknown indie musicians descend into humiliation the moment I try to tell them (sincerely) that I like what they do. I am aided along this expressway to embarrassment by Alec, who either makes things worse or laughs at me.
Take, for example, the time we went to the Arts Cafe for a Ladybug Transistor gig, and were extremely impressed by the (unadvertised) opening act, Bart Davenport. Emboldened by alcohol, we approached him later to buy his CD. Alec, whose memory for names leaves much to be desired, had forgotten the guy’s name but inexplicably decided to try and address him as something anyway.
Glancing quickly at the CDs on the merchandise table as he extended his hand in greeting, my favourite Alzheimer’s patient saw “BART DAVENPORT” but only the first four letters of the surname registered. Hence – “Dave!” said Alec enthusiastically to Bart Davenport, “Great performance Dave, I really enjoyed it!” etc. and with every “Dave!” more and more bits of my composure crumbled into a little mortified pile on the floor. Luckily, “Dave” was so sloshed that I’m not even sure he noticed he was talking to a pair of nimrods, and thank God for that.
I accomplished the next indignity all by myself, and this still smarts so much I’m not even going to name the band. It was the first time we went to the Water Rats, and I was really impressed by one of the opening bands. They looked really young – they were wearing the sort of clothes I associate with teens who desperately want to scream their indieness to the world – but they had catchy songs, strong vocals and lots of energy. Sadly, only about 15 people were watching them, and most of the people who weren’t us looked like their friends from school. This upset me a bit, as it always does when people don’t get the appreciation I think they deserve, or the credit they’re due. I thought they had real promise, and I was hoping they weren’t discouraged by the tiny audience. I wanted to tell them I thought they were great. I didn’t want them to give up on music.
So later on, when I was on the way to the bar to get my third Snakebite (you see the problem already) and saw the band hanging around, of course I went up to them and started a conversation.
Me: Hey, I really enjoyed your set.
Band (different members each time, we’ll just call them Band): Thanks very much!
Me: You sound great, how long has your band been around?
Band: About three or four years.
Me: Cool, no wonder you sound so good. If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you guys?
Band, giving me the first of many strange looks: Late twenties, mostly.
(This is where it all started to go pear-shaped for me. Late twenties??! Their dressing screamed 17!)
Me, thrown off now, clearly gobsmacked: Oh, right, right.
Band: You look surprised.
Me: Oh, er, no, I, uh, thought you looked a bit younger than that.
Band: Oh, really?
Me, gabbling stupidly while I tried and failed to move on: Oh, er, it’s nothing, I must have been mistaken. I was, uh, just noticing the people watching just now looked really young, I thought maybe they might have been your mates. (Inner monologue: What the fuck are you saying, Michelle? WALK AWAY NOW.)
Band, giving me the second of many strange looks: No, we don’t know them.
Me: Oh, right. Heh. Hmm. But anyway, you guys sounded really great!
Band, smiling tentatively: Thanks, we’re glad you enjoyed it.
Me, clearly possessed by some demon of dorkness: Do you have a good sound guy, or is the venue sound system just really good? (Inner monologue: WHAT THE FUCK??! WHAT THE FUCK?! Ground, swallow me up now, I mean motherfucking NOW!)
Band, giving me the fuckteenth strange look: Well, the venue system’s pretty good.
Me, now completely in bits: Right, right. Okay, gotta go deliver the drinks. Best of luck and all! (Walking away rapidly, not daring to look back.)
So I walked back into the other room, plonked the drinks down, grabbed Alec and started banging my head repeatedly on his chest.
Every day I thank every deity that could possibly exist in this world and the next that I haven’t met Sonic Youth or Salman Rushdie yet, and I hope I never do.